Healthier ingredients and saving money at the same time?! YES please! Let’s have a quick prep day and make our own breakfast sandwiches for the freezer!
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Begrudgingly becoming a meal planner…
If you have been around since I began this blog (9 years ago!), you know that in those earlier years, I would often field the question of “how do you meal plan” by telling you that I didn’t. I worked from home, and had babies at home, and I feel like most days back then, I was flying by the seat of my pants! There is absolutely nothing wrong with that if it is working for you. And it actually did work for me…until it didn’t. As the girls have gotten older, even though I still work from home, we are pulled away from home more often between school, after school activities, friend’s houses, and teens that want to “do something fun this weekend,” that I need to have meals more thought out. We probably have more down time than the average American, and so I can confidently say that if I’m finding meal planning helping our schedule, I would imagine so many of you would benefit from some meal planning hacks…like make ahead breakfast sandwiches!
Move over McDonald’s!
I started making these little breakfast sandwiches in bulk when we had a number of days or weekends where we had to “be somewhere,” or in a car earlier than our usual, and I still wanted something filling and healthy for my family to eat. When life gets busy, it is ok to not want to compromise on the food filling up your family. In fact, it is in those busy seasons that your family needs nutrient dense, healthier food that counts the most! Those little fast food Sausage McMuffins with Egg are such a convenient idea, but not only can we save money by making our own (I’ll break this down for you later!), our bodies are going to feel SO much better when we fuel with ingredients that are sourced well too.
Let’s start with the eggs!
I just love this little time saving hack! There is nothing fancy here – just a sheet pan of seasoned whipped eggs in the oven for 15 minutes, and you can cut up the squares into whatever size you want! Simply whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl with seasonings of your choice, and pour into a buttered sheet pan. I kept the seasonings in the eggs pretty basic in the recipe card below, but you can read the “Notes” section at the bottom of the recipe card for ideas to dress up your egg squares with sautéed veggies, or other seasonings.
Baking and slicing your egg squares
Once the eggs have baked for 15 minutes, you’ll want to let them cool for a bit – they will come out of the pan easier this way, and you will be able to slide it onto a cutting board for easy slicing too. The beauty of making your own is getting to control the size of your egg squares. If you have littles in the house, and are using something like my little breakfast biscuits, or a pancakes for the sandwich part, you can make the egg squares smaller. If you are using something larger, like the Trader Joe’s gluten free English muffins shown in the pictures of this post, or are using larger waffles or pancakes for the sandwich, you can make your egg squares bigger.
Next, let’s talk about sausage options!
I like to use the grass-fed ground beef from the cow that we purchase every year. It is super affordable, packed with so many vitamins, minerals, and compounds that you just won’t get out of conventional beef. It is also really easy to season like sausage using my sausage seasoning blend that is in the recipe card below. But there are other options too! If you have access to quality pasture raised pork or pork sausage, or even if you have access to ground turkey, lamb, or venison, you can make your own using the sausage seasoning in the recipe card below. You may also be able to find a decent breakfast sausage at the store. Brands like the Swaggerty’s Natural or Swaggerty’s Natural Sage sausage, or even the Jenny-O turkey sausage, may not have all the added benefits of a pastured meat, but the ingredients are super minimal, and it is a great option for those of you that don’t have a pastured meat source available to you.
Now for the “bread” part of the breakfast sandwich…
There are really quite a few options here! And there is something for everyone – no judgement either way. There are going to be people reading this post that under no circumstance want to homemake any sort of baked good or bread, and I would rather you use a store bought English muffin with decent ingredients than go to McDonald’s! So here are some choices for both sides – my “everything from scratch” crowd, as well as my friends that just want to grab something from the store:
- Homemade GF biscuit :: Whether you use my GF/DF Butter”milk” Biscuit from my cookbook “The Little Lunchbox Cookbook” (pictured below), or my GF Savory Spinach & Cheese Breakfast biscuit recipe from the blog, biscuits make a great vehicle for a breakfast sandwich! Or maybe you have a favorite breakfast biscuit recipe in your house that you can use!
- GF Pancakes or Waffles :: Other than my biscuit recipe, my GF/DF protein waffles recipe is probably the one I use the most for these breakfast sandwiches, on a weekly basis. I typically make a double batch of the waffles for Sunday breakfast weekly, so I have leftovers available for quick sandwiches during the week. These waffles really taste so good as a breakfast sandwich versus a sweet breakfast waffle! You can use pancakes too! Probably the easiest and fastest recipe to knock out a bunch for the freezer would be my Paleo Pancakes from my cookbook, “The Little Lunchbox Cookbook.” Or maybe you have a household favorite pancake recipe you can use!
- Store bought English muffin :: Examples that I have checked out are the Trader Joe’s or Udi’s Gluten Free English Muffins. One of the biggest reasons I took most of the pictures for this post using a store bought English muffin is to show my cooking-hesitant or baking-hesitant friends that you can still do this thing. As I said above – there will be zero judgment in this space, and I found them pretty tasty and convenient too! (Please note that typically, gluten free store bought breads like these English muffins have a much better texture when toasted – you can toast them on the same day you prep your items! I don’t have a toaster, and I tend to use my large electric skillet to toast a bunch at a time!)
- GF Bread/Toast :: As simple as this sounds, this is a very easy and tasty option too. Costco always has a good GF bread option, and quite frankly when it comes to GF bread, toasted is the way to go anyway for the texture, so you might as well make a breakfast sandwich from them! We also love the homemade GF bread mix from Bob’s Red Mill – this is the closest you will ever find me to making homemade GF bread because making GF bread from scratch is SO. HARD! This mix is very fast and easy to use.
So let’s break down the price…
I actually set out to figure out the price per breakfast sandwich with the intention that I was going to have to make my case for you wanting to make these breakfast sandwiches based solely on the fact that they have better ingredients than, say, a Sausage McMuffin with Egg from McDonald’s. As it turns out, I’m spending $2.13 for a breakfast sandwich that I can truly feel good about, and the McDonald’s where I live sells a Sausage McMuffin with Egg for $4.49. I don’t even want to know where the eggs and sausage come from on that McDonald’s sandwich, and the biscuit ingredient list is long (not to mention has gluten which wouldn’t work for some people anyway!). (Keep in mind these prices will vary from state to state, and country to country. If you live in a country where a certain type of meat, like lamb, is easier to get, or more cost effective than pork or beef, then use that – I get this comment from many of my readers outside of the States! I live in Michigan, USA, and grass-fed beef is pretty easy to access, and really quite affordable when bought as a side of beef from a local farmer. That is not the case everywhere. You may raise your own chickens or have access to quality farm-raised eggs at affordable prices – do that if you can! You may also not have access to English muffins that are affordable or have ingredients that you can have – quite frankly, making your own pancakes, waffles, or biscuits is even more cost effective anyway!)
- 1 English Muffin
- 1 Trader Joe’s English Muffin: $1.00/English muffin
- 1 Udi’s English Muffin: $0.96/English muffin
- 2 egg squares (16 eggs divided into 24 squares is about 1 1/2 eggs for 2 squares):
- Sam’s Club Pasture Raised Eggs: ($5.92/18 eggs = $0.33/egg x 1.5 eggs = $0.50 for 2 egg squares
- True Goodness Meijer Pasture Raised Eggs: ($4.99/doz = $0.42/egg x 1.5 eggs = $0.62 for 2 egg squares)
- Vital Farms Pasture Raised Eggs: ($7.09/doz = $0.59/egg x 1.5 eggs = $0.89 for 2 egg squares)
- 1 sausage patty (1 pound meat made into 8 patties)
- Grass-fed Ground Beef Sausage Patty: $5/lb x 8 patties = $0.63/patty (I can get a side of a grassfed cow for my freezer every year for under $5/pound here, but that is definitely not the case everywhere. I made this meat at $5 per pound for easy math)
- Swaggerty’s Natural Sausage Patty: $3.68/lb x 8 patties = $0.46/patty
- Jennie-O Ground Turkey Sausage Patty: $4.49/lb x 8 patties = $0.56/patty
Ok, ok, you’ve convinced me…now how do I store them?!
I’m so glad you asked! Because I was super shocked that the eggs squares froze and un-thawed well. They really do! My suggestion would be to freeze in individual sandwiches, OR just freeze the components. I tend to choose to re-heat my breakfast sandwiches in the oven. If I’m going to spend the money on pasture raised eggs and sausage, there is no way I am going to kill off all those good things in the microwave, as convenient as that is. I pop the cold sandwich or the components for the sandwich on a sheet tray and put that in the oven cold. Then I pre-heat to 350 degrees and by the time it pre-heats and then bakes a good 5 minutes, they are nice and hot to serve.
On-the-go storage options!
Here are some options for those of you that need your breakfast sandwiches to be on-the-go. Obviously a re-useable container is the most eco-friendly, but if you can’t bring something like that along because you need to save space, need a smaller option to store away, or need something that you can throw away, I have found these to work well!
- The “If You Care” Brand parchment paper or sandwich wraps will keep your sandwich warm and the bread tasting great, and you can throw it away too. They are even compostable!
- Beeswax wraps are great if you want a re-useable option that stores away easier than a large re-useable box or lunchbox. Just fold it up and slip it back in your purse or bag and you can rinse it off at home later. They wrap around a sandwich SO nicely, and keep it warm and the bread texture great.
15-MINUTE SHEET PAN EGGS
Here is the recipe for the eggs. Again, these freeze up in squares so nicely, and warm up in the oven with great texture! You could even do 2 sheet pans at a time and bulk up your freezer stash when eggs are on sale, or when those farmers have them priced well in the in-season summer time!
Sheet Pan Baked Eggs for Prep Day Breakfast Sandwiches!
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and butter a large sheet pan/jelly roll pan. The eggs will puff up so make sure to butter the sides too so they don't stick. If you can't have butter, avocado oil or ghee should work.
- Vigorously whisk all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl until smooth, and then pour the seasoned eggs into the buttered sheet pan.
- Bake the sheet pan eggs at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. You can cut the eggs right there in the pan, or you can wait for them to cool, and scoop the egg rectangle out onto a cutting board to cut. I like to run a spatula under the eggs to be sure none of the bottom is sticking.
- You can definitely dress these eggs up or down! This is a pretty basic recipe. Add cooked & crumbled sausage, sautéed veggies, and/or shredded cheese of your choice. The Viola Life coconut based cheese works well if you are not able to have dairy. We like the sheep’s milk or goat’s milk cheeses since that is what we tolerated best.
- To freeze the eggs, cut them up into squares after they have cooled completely, and store in freezer bags flat. They really do thaw out and re-heat well and keep their taste and texture!
DIY SAUSAGE PATTIES
And for those of you wanting to experiment with making your own sausage patties, get ready to save some money and have super delicious sausage too!
Homemade Sausage Patties
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp basil
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp marjoram
- Pinch cayenne pepper to taste or leave it out if you want to keep the heat down
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 lb pastured ground pork or grassfed ground beef ground lamb, venison, turkey etc work too
- 1 tbsp butter to cook in
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the seasonings together until combined, then add the ground meat to the bowl. Mix the meat with the seasoning blend until combined.
- Form patties out of the meat, and cook in a hot skillet coated with butter. I get 7-8 patties out of each pound of meat, but you can make your patties as large or small as you want.
- This recipe doubles and triples well, and the sausage patties freeze well both uncooked, and cooked.